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Kris
March 7th, 2003, 02:49 AM
March 7, 2003
City Is Seeking Bigger Role in Rebuilding
By EDWARD WYATT

The Bloomberg administration has proposed a broad restructuring of the city-state agency overseeing the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, city and state officials said yesterday. The plan would give the city more authority over the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and billions of dollars of federal recovery money, they said.

The proposal is part of what city and state officials call "an ongoing dialogue" over the future of the agency, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Some of the city's ideas are unlikely to be adopted, the officials said, while others could survive.

The proposed changes were included in an outline sent this week by Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, to John Cahill, the chief of staff to Gov. George E. Pataki. They would leave the development corporation with little real authority, even over a memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, which would be developed by a new commission with the governor as chairman.

Officials who have reviewed the outline said it would give the city responsibility for overseeing the rebuilding at the trade center site, subject to the approval of an advisory board of officials from the state, the city, the development corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owner of the site.

That advisory board, whose chairman would be Roland W. Betts, a development corporation director, is essentially the same group that oversaw the selection of Daniel Libeskind's architectural plan for the trade center site. The effect of having such an advisory board giving approval would be much the same as in the city's proposed land swap with the Port Authority, giving the city control of the trade center site while keeping the development process exempt from the complicated public review process the city would experience, a process from which the Port Authority is exempt.

Authority over the $1.25 billion in federal rebuilding funds that remains in the development corporation's coffers would be shared by the city and the state under the plan, the officials said.

In addition, the plan would transfer the development corporation's planning, design and development staff to a city agency and would give the city and the development corporation's board joint authority over the development of cultural programs at the trade center site.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Doctoroff said the proposals "are one portion of a series of ongoing conversations" between the city and the state about how to integrate the plan for the trade center site that was adopted last week, designed by Mr. Libeskind, with the city's vision for Lower Manhattan, which Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined in December.

All of the proposals in the outline "are not going to be what ultimately happens," Mr. Doctoroff said, but he declined to specify which proposals were likely to survive.

Lisa Dewald Stoll, a spokeswoman for Mr. Pataki, said that "discussions are ongoing" over the future of the redevelopment effort. "There are obviously a lot of ideas on how to proceed," Ms. Stoll said. "The governor loves the process so far, and he thinks it has worked very well. He wants to continue soliciting ideas."

The city has been pushing for months for greater say over the redevelopment effort, in part because city officials said that too much of the federal recovery money was going to the 16-acre trade center site, at the expense of the broader needs of Lower Manhattan.

To that end, in December Mr. Bloomberg released a $10.6 billion plan for Lower Manhattan, calling for the construction of new housing, more parks and open space, greater cultural offerings and improved transportation connections, including a new tunnel beneath the East River to link Lower Manhattan with the Long Island Rail Road and Kennedy Airport.

State rebuilding officials have been receptive to some of the city's proposals. Last year, Louis R. Tomson, the governor's former aide who at the time was president of the development corporation, said he expected the governor to "find a way to accommodate them having more say." Yesterday, an official close to the governor said that Mr. Tomson's remarks still held.

That does not mean that the city's proposals were entirely well received. Two state officials close to the governor said the city's plans would give the city far more authority than the governor would like, particularly after what he considered a successful process to develop a site plan for the trade center land.

Under Mr. Doctoroff's proposals, the development corporation would continue to administer its $300 million grant program for downtown residents, which has significantly raised occupancy rates of rental apartments in Lower Manhattan. But the agency would be restricted from approving new programs, and any spending of the remaining federal money would require the joint approval of city and state officials.

Planning for the improvement of transportation downtown would also change under the city's proposal, coming under the authority of a committee with Mr. Cahill, Mr. Pataki's chief of staff, as chairman. The committee would include officials from the mayor's office, the city and state transportation departments, the Port Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Fabb
March 7th, 2003, 03:54 AM
city officials said that too much of the federal recovery money was going to the 16-acre trade center site, at the expense of the broader needs of Lower Manhattan.


Dilute the funds in all of lower Manhattan ?
Are they trying to buy votes at the expense of the reconstruction ?

ZippyTheChimp
March 7th, 2003, 09:17 AM
Or maybe the "broader needs of New York City."
This happens all the time. Funds get diverted, and wind up plugging budget holes, which as you said, "buy votes."

JMGarcia
March 7th, 2003, 12:10 PM
I prefer the WTC site remain focused and not part of the usual compromises, special interests and trade-offs it would be subject to in the hands of the city.

dbhstockton
March 7th, 2003, 05:36 PM
I think the plan is to make the whole thing so byzantine that people just throw up their hands and let what happens happen. *I can't keep up anymore. *

TLOZ Link5
March 7th, 2003, 06:18 PM
Ditto, Stockton.

Agglomeration
March 7th, 2003, 07:33 PM
I have a serious issue with Bloomberg's hopes for new housing, parks, schools, and such. THERE IS NO ROOM SOUTH OF CHAMBERS STREET FOR ANY OF THESE AMENITIES!!! Other than Battery Park City and South Street Seaport, everything's all tall office buildings and converted loft apartments. And besides, don't we already have a big park at the tip, as well as adequate community facilities in BPC?

ZippyTheChimp
March 7th, 2003, 08:13 PM
Schools are not amenities.

Agglomeration
March 8th, 2003, 01:41 AM
well, whatever. my point is that affordable housing and all these 'cultural' amenities Bloomberg talks about have no place in Ground Zero, never mind Lower Manhattan. NY isn't Paris. Why can't people see that?

dbhstockton
March 8th, 2003, 02:12 AM
What do you have against cultural amenities and affordable housing?

Agglomeration
March 8th, 2003, 03:24 AM
I don't mind it too much for Lower Manhattan. But I'm dead set against any affordable housing project being constructed on the WTC site. It's also why I oppose Bloomberg's land swap. Libeskind at least had enough sense to exclude them in his renderings.

NYguy
March 8th, 2003, 09:17 AM
The Bloomberg administration has proposed a broad restructuring of the city-state agency overseeing the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, city and state officials said yesterday. The plan would give the city more authority over the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and billions of dollars of federal recovery money, they said.

This is only a move by Bloomberg to get his hands on the federal dollars for other uses, WTC be damned. *Bloomberg has always wanted the WTC to take a back seat to developing the rest of lower Manhattan. *The city would still have no say on what actually gets built at the Port Authority owned site, but would have some control over the funding.

ZippyTheChimp
March 8th, 2003, 09:46 AM
my point is that affordable housing and all these 'cultural' amenities Bloomberg talks about have no place in Ground Zero, never mind Lower Manhattan. NY isn't Paris. Why can't people see that?

Libeskind at least had enough sense to exclude them in his renderings.

It's difficult enough to get the city to put up affordable housing anywhere. The chance of this happenning at WTC site
is nil.

Libeskind did indeed include cultural amenities in his plan.
Up to 380,000 sq ft. There is a performing arts center attached to tower 1, and the two buildings flanking the museum are for cultural use.

Yes, lower Manhattan isn't Paris, but can it at least be Manhattan? Midtown has its share of cultural amenities (Broadway, museum mile, Times Sq, Lincoln Center) integrated into the business community.


I have a serious issue with Bloomberg's hopes for new housing, parks, schools, and such. THERE IS NO ROOM SOUTH OF CHAMBERS STREET FOR ANY OF THESE AMENITIES!!!
Look closer.

dbhstockton
March 8th, 2003, 11:49 AM
It's a tried-and-true formula that's been in use in North American cities for decades now. *Culture + Housing + Financial Incentives= Revitilization. *

Whenever I walk around Lower Manhattan, I see plenty of under-utilized sites just waiting for the right market conditions. *The mayor is trying to stimulate the downtown real estate market, and using a very conventional formula to do so. *